Did you see the cartoon
about the invited couple arriving at the host’s
vessel for an overnight cruise? They are
obviously cruising “newbies.”
The lady is wearing a
miniskirt and high heels. He’s in a rumpled suit
from work and has an overstuffed computer bag
tucked under his arm. His shoulder is weighted
down with golf clubs and a tennis racket. And
everything else they could think of is stuffed
into two huge, hard-sided suitcases. Oh, and
someone is trying to reach him on his cell phone
because it’s playing his favorite “oldie”.
here,” she sings, waving a bottle of wine.
Some of you have met or
seen this well-meaning couple. The cartoon
rather overstates the typical scenario, but
makes the point clearly that non-boating guests
just don’t know what to bring or what to wear
when they’re invited to cruise.
We can also safely assume
they do not know boating’s protocols. For
example, they do not realize that on a boat it’s
really bad form to take long showers or turn on
the galley tap and let the water run. They don’t
realize that reading lamps are used sparingly,
if at all.
Well, you may reasonably
ask, if guests are such a problem why do we even
invite them to cruise with us? The reason is we
like them. They are our friends. We enjoy their
company and boating so let’s combine and enjoy
both our friends and boating.
The challenge is how we
gently educate our friends about the do’s and
don’ts of cruising. We don’t want to hurt their
feelings, but they need to know the rules of the
boat and the protocols of boating.
I usually talk to the
female ahead of time and tell her what to wear
and what to bring and, importantly, what not to
bring. I tell them the boat only has so much
fresh water so we take quick and infrequent
showers. I say boating is a lot like camping.
Space is tight. Reading lights are fine when the
boat is running or plugged in to power at a
marina, but otherwise they just drain the
batteries. Vic has a similar talk with the man.
I’ve found it helpful to
couch all the warnings in the context of the
rewards of boating. Cruising is that way, I say.
We give up some luxuries to experience the joy
of being on the water.
Some items are best
discussed when the guests are on the boat and
can see what you’re talking about. We show them
the PFDs and how to put them on. We show them
the first aid kit, the flashlight, the fire
extinguishers. We tell them what to do with wet
towels and such. We cover safety matters like
never letting their hands get pinched between
the boat railing and the pilings. Regarding the
propane stove, we just simply ask them to let
Vic or I take care of all the cooking and
One of the problems is
that guests want to be helpful. However, on a
boat, if their volunteering is not channeled, it
can be dangerous. I usually give our guests some
real boating clean-up assignments in advance and
ask them not to worry about doing anything else.
That way they can make a real contribution to
the cruise. They’ll feel better and so will you.
There is another reason
why Vic and I like our friends to cruise with
us. Ambassadors of boating that we are we want
all our friends to like boating, too. To do
that, we’ve got to get them on the boat and give
them a taste of the good life.
So we tell them ahead of
time to shed those street clothes and get into
water clothes. We tell them there won’t be time
for golf, tennis, office work or iPads unless
they want to look up a type of bird or native
But we also tell them
there will be time for a sunrise from the bridge
while taking the first few sips of coffee of the
day. There will be a chance to watch dolphins
surf the bow wave. And there will be time for
watching a black sky carpeted from horizon to
horizon with millions of brilliant stars.